How to Cook Chicken Wings in a Smoker

Baked chicken wings with sesame seeds and sweet chili sauce on white wooden board.


Smoking chicken wings in a backyard smoker takes some time and preparation, but it imparts a strong smokiness to your wings that is hard to duplicate on a regular grill. The smoking process is simple, if a little time consuming. The wings need several hours in a marinade or dry rub to give them time to soak up the flavors. After choosing your favorite flavor of wood, fire up the smoker and have dinner ready in under two hours.

Cut off and discard the tip ends of the wings using poultry shears or a sharp's chef knife. Place the wings in a large resealable plastic bag.

Pour a prepared marinade or spice rub into the bag with the chicken and place the bag in the refrigerator to marinate overnight or for at least 8 hours, turning the bag occasionally. You can use any type of marinade, such as a barbecue- or hot sauce-based marinades, or you can use a dry rub mixture. If you are using a dry rub, toss the chicken lightly in vegetable oil first so the seasoning will stick.

Prepare your smoker when you are ready to cook the wings by filling the water pan to the line indicated and adding charcoal to the smoker. Light the charcoal and bring the smoker to between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit, using the vents to adjust the temperature.

Add wood chips on top of the charcoal once they start to ashen. You can use any type of wood, such as hickory, mesquite, cedar, cherry and apple, depending on what flavor you want to impart onto the chicken wings.

Add the chicken wings directly onto the grates in the smoker and close the lid. Allow the wings to smoke for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F, as indicated by a meat thermometer. If you plan on adding a sauce to the wings, you can start basting them about 30 minutes before they finish, adding more every few minutes at your discretion.